The technology and consulting company Accenture started a 5G pilot project at its Helsinki office to provide its employees with a location-independent, stable and fast network. The company’s goal is to replace fixed network infrastructure in the future with mobile connections to a fuller extent than at present.
Accenture employs a little over 1,000 people in Finland. For the employees, the office is just one of the many possible places to work, and much of the work is done at home, on customer premises and on business trips. “Only about a quarter of the employees work at the Helsinki office at a time. This means that the office’s fixed IT infrastructure is not fully used. Therefore we started looking with our partner Telia for a more scalable but equally stable alternative to the fixed network”, says Klaus Pedersen.
Accenture and Telia decided to try replacing the office’s fixed network completely with a public 5G mobile network. During the pilot project, Accenture has tested the operation of 5G-enabled devices and, in the future, the plan is to install 5G SIM cards directly in employees’ laptops. “In terms of speed and reliability, the 5G mobile network is on a par with fixed networks and does not require fixed investments from us. Combined with our secure devices, the solution also has a high level of information security”, Pedersen explains.
Antti Vilenius, who is responsible for IT at Accenture in Finland, is pleased with the 5G pilot. “Telia is responsible for the functionality of the mobile network, so our network maintenance burden at Accenture is eased. It is also easier to change the connection properties than it is to change the properties of a fixed network. These are the benefits of service purchasing.”
"Video conferencing is much smoother thanks to 5G, as is working with files in the cloud.”
- Anni Moisio, Accenture
According to Vilenius, there were challenges with the coverage of the 5G network at the beginning of the pilot in autumn 2019, but they were overcome together with Telia. Since then, the 5G connection has worked well and made work easier for the employees involved in the pilot. Accenture’s consultant Anni Moisio, who often does her job on client premises or on the road, shares this view. “For example, video conferencing is much smoother thanks to 5G, as is working with files in the cloud.”
Towards a comprehensive mobile infrastructure
The Helsinki pilot will continue with Accenture, generating information on the functionality of the 5G network as a replacement for the fixed office network. However, trust in the potential of the mobile network is already strong. “Our long-term goal is to completely eradicate the fixed network infrastructure at our offices and replace it with a fast and reliable mobile infrastructure”, Pedersen says. “In the future, we will hopefully have a common network infrastructure covering all of the Nordic countries that will operate at least partly on the 5G network.”
Accenture expects the significance of the 5G network to grow in almost all areas in the near future, and the company is also helping its customers find the best 5G use cases. “We want to be at the forefront of restructuring corporate ecosystems, so it is important that our employees have first-hand experience of modern network infrastructure” Pedersen says.
Text: Satu Ekman